Bystander shot after collision in Mountain View; 2 arrested

Michelle Theriault Boots

A car crash in Mountain View on Sunday started a chain of events that put a 51-year-old bystander in the hospital with gunshot wounds and two young men under arrest for shooting him as they fled the scene.

It was an early morning outburst of violence in a neighborhood where residents say they are tired of being awakened by gunshots.

At around 2 a.m. Sunday, a caller told a police dispatcher that a Honda Accord had slammed into a dumpster in the area of North Hoyt Street and Parsons Avenue, coming to rest in front of a yellow stucco fourplex.

The driver of the wrecked Honda, which had also caused damage to another vehicle and a building, tried to peel out but hit a light pole. After that, the car wouldn't move.

Suddenly, the caller told police, the people in the Honda piled into a white SUV and sped away.

About 20 minutes later another call came in to police, who had not yet arrived to investigate the initial crash.

It was the time when bars were letting out, said Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Anita Shell. A crashed car with no occupants wasn't considered a top-priority call.

The second caller told a dispatcher the same people who bailed out of the Honda were back and attempting to tow the smashed-up car away.

A man from the neighborhood had come outside to try and keep them from leaving the mangled fence and broken light pole.

"Moments later, several shots rang out from the white SUV as it fled the area, leaving the good Samaritan on the ground suffering from gunshot wounds," Shell wrote in a press release.

Police, following up on leads of eyewitnesses, arrested Keng Her, 22, and Chuada Chang, 23, on Sunday afternoon. Her is charged with first degree assault and weapons misconduct. Chang is charged with criminal mischief, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. Both are being held at the Anchorage Jail.

On Sunday, there was upended dirt and smashed glass in front of the fourplex.

Neighbors out washing cars on a sunny fall day said they didn't know the identity of the shooting victim.

Police wouldn't release his name. He was hit in the pelvis and foot and was being treated at a local hospital Sunday.

To some neighbors, the incident left a growing sense that violence was becoming more commonplace in a neighborhood that has been the target of millions of dollars worth of community development projects in recent years.

On Sunday, Dani Soosuk stood in a yard carpeted with yellow leaves near the site of the shooting.

The gunshots woke her.

"Our building shook," said the school crossing guard.

She's lived in Mountain View for 10 years and things seemed to be getting worse.

Soosuk said she's in the habit of calling police whenever she hears "close by" gunfire.

"I'd say I've called 100 times," she said. "Some clerks know me by my voice."

Sometimes police have arrived quickly, she said, but sometimes they haven't arrived at all.

Officers respond to an area if gunfire is reported but it's often difficult to follow up if the complaint isn't specific, said Anita Shell of the APD.

Soosuk said the most recent shooting in her neighborhood just made her want to move.

"There are lots of nice people in this neighborhood," she said. "It's just we don't get the respect we should like other neighborhoods do."